Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Function Allocation in Complex Socio-Technical Systems: Procedure usage in nuclear power and the Context Analysis Method for Identifying Design Solutions (CAMIDS) Model
by Schmitt, Kara Anne, Ph.D., Florida Institute of Technology, 2013, 339; 3577874
Abstract (Summary)

This research aims to prove that strict adherence to procedures and rigid compliance to process in the US Nuclear Industry may not prevent incidents or increase safety. According to the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations, the nuclear power industry has seen a recent rise in events, and this research claims that a contributing factor to this rise is organizational, cultural, and based on peoples overreliance on procedures and policy.

Understanding the proper balance of function allocation, automation and human decision-making is imperative to creating a nuclear power plant that is safe, efficient, and reliable. This research claims that new generations of operators are less engaged and thinking because they have been instructed to follow procedures to a fault. According to operators, they were once to know the plant and its interrelations, but organizationally more importance is now put on following procedure and policy.

Literature reviews were performed, experts were questioned, and a model for context analysis was developed. The Context Analysis Method for Identifying Design Solutions (CAMIDS) Model was created, verified and validated through both peer review and application in real world scenarios in active nuclear power plant simulators. These experiments supported the claim that strict adherence and rigid compliance to procedures may not increase safety by studying the industry's propensity for following incorrect procedures, and when it directly affects the outcome of safety or security of the plant.

The findings of this research indicate that the younger generations of operators rely highly on procedures, and the organizational pressures of required compliance to procedures may lead to incidents within the plant because operators feel pressured into following the rules and policy above performing the correct actions in a timely manner. The findings support computer based procedures, efficient alarm systems, and skill of the craft matrices.

The solution to the problems facing the industry include in-depth, multiple fault failure training which tests the operator's knowledge of the situation. This builds operator collaboration, competence and confidence to know what to do, and when to do it in response to an emergency situation.

Strict adherence to procedures and rigid compliance to process may not prevent incidents or increase safety; building operators' fundamental skills of collaboration, competence and confidence will.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Boy, Guy Andre
School: Florida Institute of Technology
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-B 75/04(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Industrial engineering, Nuclear engineering, Occupational psychology
Keywords: Context, Design making, Emergent behaviors, Function allocation, Human centered design, Procedures
Publication Number: 3577874
ISBN: 978-1-303-65722-1
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